‘African Trip’: 24 hours in the life of young Africans around the world
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‘African Trip’ is an incredibly popular new online project in which youngsters from 27 African countries share live videos via Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. At the heart of the initiative is a desire to bring the continent’s youth closer together by encouraging them to debate current affairs, share their experiences or showcase their lifestyles.
Since the start of 2016, the platform has attracted large numbers of users from Sub-Saharan Africa. It was originally the brainchild of Harold Joakim Fossouo, a 20-year-old Cameroonian student better known online under the pseudonym @Mboa_237. The project aims to offer its users an interactive forum open to all youths aged over 18. Though originally only open to Cameroonians, the concept quickly spread.
Snapchat allows users to share clips in real time with other subscribers. Every day, a guest receives a username and password from the administrator of his particular country’s ‘African Trip’ page. He then has 24 hours to tackle a theme determined in advance by the administrators.
Today, @AfricanTrip brings together youngsters from 27 African countries and counts more than 50,000 followers on Twitter. By the end of May, it plans to open pages for three more countries.
“I live streamed a painting session”Papi is a Senegalese artist and entrepreneur living in Dakar. On Saturday, he contributed to African Trip for the first time.
I had been keeping an eye on the content uploaded to Sunusnap for a while [Editor’s note: The name used for African Trip’s Senegalese community]. What struck me was the possibility to interact in real time with the community and react without being censured. I don’t really like the mainstream media that much. This is a way to get your message out to a large number of people instantaneously without having to do a television interview.
During my session, I exhibited several paintings that I had previously showcased at the Biennale in Dakar. I talked about my company, which offers products made in either Senegal or Mauritania. I also streamed a painting session. Lots of viewers asked me how I’d set up my company, and the difficulties that I’d faced along the way. For me, it’s a great experience, because it allows you to get feedback straightaway – and not only from Senegalese people; people from many different countries watch.
I’ve also discovered several projects using the platform, some of which are being carried out only a stone’s throw away from my home. Before signing up, I had never even heard of them. I keenly followed a user who spoke about collecting and redistributing clothes in Dakar. I was touched by the way people explained what they were doing, how they dedicated time to explaining things in-depth, and the impact they’ve had on their communities. I really appreciated them doing that: they’ve shown other members of African Trip that despite our youth and with little means, we can achieve a lot.
African Trip’s aims are as diverse as its users, all of whom are aged between 18 and 30. While some use the platform to showcase the difficulties that they face in daily life, others take it upon themselves to show off their cities’ hidden wonders. Many users also talk about their jobs or what’s making the headlines in their countries.
Those behind the initiative, like Halima Diarra, take credit for its huge diversity. She co-founded the project and is in charge of contributions from Mali.
“We wanted to do away with stereotypes and show Africa’s youth in a different light”
The project’s original goal has always been to bring together Africa’s young people, scattered as they are across the world. We wanted to create a kind of unity, without doing away with the idiosyncrasies that make each member unique. African Trip allows us to do away with stereotypes and showcase Africa’s youngsters in a different light. Today’s youth is lucky enough to have the technology and means to interact more than ever before.
At the beginning, we received some criticism. Several guests were accused of being ‘superficial’ or of just wanting to show off. But our followers quickly realized that the concept could lead to important exchanges of ideas. For example, we’ve organised live streams during which Malian users were able to discover the daily life of a Congolese user. Exchanges like that create links between communities that could pave the way for future trips or partnerships. For us, we see African Trip as a kind of ‘infotainment’.
Every month, we produce a film that sums of a specific theme. For example, for the end of May, each representative of the community’s 27 countries has chosen an entrepreneur from among their followers. Each one will have to explain his or her venture, as well as the difficulties they’ve faced, along with advice for those wishing to pursue similar projects [Editor’s note: Like Papi did in his video]. Once the members have recorded their videos, we’ll pick the moments that stand out the most, and use them to create a montage that we’ll publish on our YouTube channel. That way, we can archive the advice and create a legacy.
We’ve got lots of big ideas, even if most of us are students driving the project forward on a volunteer basis. In the coming months, we’d like to create a video to promote places in Africa that aren’t well known to the public. We want to make people want to come visit our continent.
Would you like to help or participate in the African Trip project? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with them by emailing email@example.com or by contacting them on Twitter.